Overcoming the intimidation of traveling alone


Written by: Cassie Bernard

Fear and doubt stands between a life of mediocrity and an extraordinary life. Fear and doubt can prevent change, progress and discovery. Intimidation can be just as limiting. Intimidation is a feeling of inferiority and a natural response to uncomfortable situations andnew surroundings. It’s an emotion manifested from other feelings such as fear, doubt, timidness and insecurity. You can feel intimidated by a stranger on the street, a project for work, a life change — even traveling.

Travel Intimidation

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” (Miriam Beard). Traveling, yes, can be scary. You feel doubtful and insecure about being in a country far away from the comforts of home. Immersing yourself in a foreign land full of diverse cultures, language barriers and new scenery is intimidating. I was intimidated by travel. I had just graduated with an architecture degree from one of the best landscape design schools. Then I wanted to travel. I was hungry to find creative inspiration from around the world. I wanted to pursue a solo mission to see beautiful landscapes and ingenious architecture from Rome and Valencia to Cairo and Machu Picchu — but traveling alone intimidated me. Extinguishing that intimidation, from the planning process to trekking around Machu Pichu, ended up being life-changing.

Wanderlust: Go After It

Overcome travel intimidation with the following tips:

  • If roaming through Patagonia or walking along the breathtaking beach of Myrtos Beach in Greece is your dream, make sacrifices. Eliminate shopping sprees, eating out and any frivolous expenses. Money-saving apps such as Budget Saved- Smart Money Management or Toshl Finance can help you organize your finances in order to save for your trip. Often people think traveling will put them into debt. With some strategic saving and sacrificing, affording travel expenses won’t feel so out of reach. The luxury of unforgettable life experience will trump tangible luxuries that end up being meaningless.
  • Placing yourself in unknown territory is emotionally risky. People fear loneliness, but with the right mindset, loneliness elicits self-discovery and growth. For Salon contributor Sarah Hepola, her three-month solo trip across the country was the best thing she’s ever done. Intimidated by spending so much time with yourself? Scared of new environments? Imagine the independence and self-confidence that you’ll gain. Hepola decided to stop being scared and isolating herself. She became addicted to adventure, exploration and the highs of fortitude that accompany traveling alone.
  • “I can barely prepare a list for the grocery store let alone plan for an excursion overseas that I’ll take by myself.” Approach the planning process with organization and goals. First establish a budget and then determine your destinations. Research and learn all you can by reading books and visiting travel sites such as NationalGeographic.com, Frommers.com, VirtualTourist.com and RoughGuides.com. Rather than feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the planning process, enjoy it. Use this as an opportunity to learn and build excitement for a life-changing experience that you can claim as your very own.

Lust after exploration and “when you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” (Clifton Fadiman).

2 thoughts on “Overcoming the intimidation of traveling alone

  1. My hesitation for traveling alone is not even so much the fear, the money, or the planning. Instead, I wonder how my husband will feel if I take off to spend a week or so in an amazing location while he is stuck going to work every day (since he has no vacation until he’s been at his job 1 year). He’ll be unhappy that he is stuck at home, and I’ll be unhappy that the person who I love spending time with can’t be with me to experience wonderful new things.

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